BWW Reviews: Curious Theatre's Fascinating Interpersonal Study in AFTER THE REVOLUTION
Curious Theatre Company presents Amy Herzog's AFTER THE REVOLUTION playing now through October 19th. The passionate, brilliant Emma Joseph proudly carries the torch of her family's long-held Marxist ideals by devoting her life to the memory of her legendary blacklisted grandfather. When a stunning revelation uncovers a dark secret, her entire family must reconcile everything they stood for with the shadowy truth of history.
While on the surface this looks like a political drama when you pull back the layers this show is full of intersecting family ties and wonderful interpersonal intrigue and a wonderful plot that took the audience on a journey that had them asking, "What is the Revolution?". At first glance, the "revolution" appears to be the independence of Marxists from the shadow of McCarthy, which also made me ponder "Is Marxism still alive in America in this day and age?". Once we settle in for the journey of Emma and the exceptional ensemble that enhance every interpersonal scene, we begin to realize that the "revolution" could be the independence of Emma, whether it being free thought out coming into her own from her family's shadow and mindset. But after the revolution, what is the right thing to do? This is what is explored through the ties of Emma and her family that sometimes unravel, sometimes grow nearer and stronger and sometimes, unfortunately break. Some of my favorite scenes were the awkward phone scene at the end of Act One, the funny and touching scenes between the two sisters, the oh so compassionate scene between Emma and her stepmother, the amazing climatic scene reuniting father and daughter and the haunting final scene that resonates that "Every relationship has some sadness in it...that's life!".Lauren Bahlman absolutely wonderful as Emma Joseph and commanded and guided the play from beginning to end. She brought a combination of sarcasm, heart, and passion that transfixed the audience throughout. Gordon McConnell as her father, Gordon Joseph was so strong and I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. He had such a rapport with his daughter which drove the conflict and the plot. Anne Oberbroeckling as the grandmother, Vera Joseph may have had you laughing with her crotchety air with a forgetful attitude, but don't be fooled. In the final scene she suddenly slaps you in the face with her stern family choices and a heartfelt ending that cuts your soul. In sharp contrast was Dee Covington as the step-mother with a heart of gold, Mel Joseph and I adored her performance that was so full of compassion. Jessica Robblee as Emma's sister Jess Joseph was so much fun and I loved the sisterly bond. She brought a sarcastic air to her recovering ways and the audience loved her. Mark Collins was excellent as Uncle Leo and Matthew Block was grounded and good as Emma's boyfriend, Miquel Roja. Jim Hunt was superb as Morty has such a humbled strength with a twinkle in his eye (superbly played by Jim Hunt).
The set by designer Markas Henry looked like something out of an IKEA showroom and it was wonderful with so many levels that guided the plot flawlessly. I loved the dominance of red that was symbolic of Communism. Shannon McKinney integrated fabulous lighting fixtures into her design and her effects were perfect for each scene. I also thoroughly enjoyed Brian Freeland's sound design and especially his choices of folksy and social justice songs. Director Chip Walton did a superb job of gathering a talented and passionate cast for this show that really drew in the audience. I also have to give him total props for him genius grasp of seamless transitions as one scene flowed into the next effortlessly.
Another thought provoking and fascinating play from this exceptional company that has me looking forward to the rest of their season! Curious Theatre's AFTER THE REVOLUTION is engaging audiences now through October 19th. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 303-623-0524 or online at www.curioustheatre.org. Curious Theatre is located at 1080 Acoma Street in Denver.
Anne Oberbroeckling as Vera
Lauren Bahlman as Emma and Jessica Robblee as Jess
Matthew Block as Miguel Roja and Lauren Bahlman as Emma